Music provides a creative outlet and an opportunity to freely express yourself. As the world faces a global pandemic, there’s no better time to enhance your natural instrument and share your gift with others. Whether you’re working toward a professional singing career or exploring voice training as a hobby, you don’t have to postpone your singing lessons because of COVID-19.
Like many other academic and recreational activity instructors, the professional coaches at the Sloan School of Music offer their singing lessons online so you can continue your vocal training safely and conveniently. If you’re skeptical about the efficacy of virtual music lessons, here are a few advantages and disadvantages to consider:
Pros of online vocal lessons
Over the past 6 months, many singers made the switch to virtual vocal lessons to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, there many other advantages to online vocal training.
Access to professional coaches anywhere
You’re more likely to be successful in your vocal training if you find the right singing course and teaching style to fit your skill level. Virtual vocal coaching allows for flexible scheduling and increased accessibility so you can train with the best. Whether you’re looking for a masterclass, group training, or private music lessons, utilizing online training courses taught by professional vocal instructors will help you to hone your craft and become a better singer.
Convenient for busy schedules
As long as you have a quiet space and a secure internet connection, you can attend an online vocal lesson whenever it’s most convenient for you — which also means you can use the time you would have spent traveling to and from the studio for more practice. If your schedule tends to be a bit unpredictable, you won’t need to cancel a lesson just because you’re out of town or unable to get to the studio.
Maintain your progress
For those students working to improve their vocal technique or expand their range, a pause in training could result in major setbacks. It’s easy for inexperienced singers to form bad habits over time if they’re not training properly — these bad habits then require even more training and practice to break. Being able to continue your progress and work with a professional vocal coach ensures you stay on the right track.
Easily Record Lessons
Many aspiring and professional singers video record their vocal training to review and reference during solo practice. Taking singing lessons through Skype, Zoom, or any other virtual platform makes it easier than ever to record the training session for future review.
Even advanced singers can benefit from reviewing past lessons to improve their singing techniques, identify problem areas, and repeat helpful vocal exercises. Not only can you listen to your recorded lesson, you can also watch yourself sing to monitor your posture and identify physical tension that may be leading to vocal strain.
Cons of online vocal lessons
While there are numerous advantages to virtual music lessons, there are also challenges for both coaches and students to overcome in order to be effective in their training. Singing is an intimate and personal experience and it can take time to find that connection with your vocal coach; therefore, it can be difficult to find and foster that same trust through the screen.
In today’s day in age, most people already have the technology required to attend an online course — typically, all you need is a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and whatever app or digital program the instructor uses. However, you’ll need high-quality audio/video capability to get the most out of your vocal training. Your instructor needs to be able to see and hear you well and vice versa.
The most common video conferencing platforms, like Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet, are all free to download and easy to use. To avoid issues that might take up time during your online lesson, make sure you are connected to secure Wi-Fi and familiarize yourself with the video software beforehand.
Lack of physical context
In-person lessons allow instructors to interpret the impact their students’ stance, posture, and breath control on their voice; these small indicators can be difficult to detect in a video. For example, neck and jaw tension can lead to vocal strain, but the visual signs are very subtle.
Additionally, it’s common practice for some vocal coaches to make physical adjustments and corrections to improve their student’s sound. Coaches with this teaching style may have a hard time adapting to virtual lessons, but many instructors have implemented alternative strategies that encourage their students to be aware of their body as it pertains to their singing voice.
Inability to sing simultaneously
For new singers especially, the student’s ability to match pitch and tone helps determine their vocal range and identify areas of improvement. Unfortunately, most online platforms do not support simultaneous audio, which means two remote parties cannot sing together and properly hear one another. However, there are other practice techniques and vocal warm-ups coaches can utilize to achieve the same result, such as listen and repeat exercises.
Limited performance opportunity
For those working toward a professional singing career, performing for an audience is a very important aspect of their vocal training. Aside from encouraging singers to be comfortable in front of a crowd, performing also fosters name recognition and provides vocalists the opportunity to expand their industry network.
While it might not feel like the same experience, singers can still showcase their talent in virtual recitals and even attend online auditions. In fact, virtual platforms provide a better opportunity to reach a much larger audience than standard in-person performances.
Online singing lessons may not be the ideal long-term option for every student, but utilizing virtual training, even temporarily, is a great way to maintain your progress and increase your skill level. While there may be an adjustment period after switching to online vocal lessons, the challenges are not impossible to overcome.
Interested in Vocal Lessons?
The Sloan School of Music offers private voice training with professional instructors —contact us today for more information or to sign up for your first lesson and find out if virtual training can help you become a better singer.